Having a fireplace is often considered a luxury. Sitting in front of a warm fire during the winter certainly feels comfortable and luxurious, especially if it’s storming outside. However, both fireplaces and chimneys need to be properly maintained in order to keep the inhabitants of the house safe all year round.
Prevention of House Fires
If a fireplace is not appropriately ventilated, then there is a greater risk for the occurrence of devastating house fires. That’s why there are regulations in place that define how a fireplace should be built. Size isn’t the only thing that matters, but builders also have to consider clearances, height, and location in addition to ensuring that the fireplace is properly installed.
Calling a Chimney Sweep
Touching a chimney sweep is considered good luck in many parts of the world. And while you may not win the lottery after the chimney sweep has been to your house, at the very least, your chimney will be properly cleaned. The more often your fireplace is used, the more often it needs to be cleaned out because of creosote buildup. It’s recommended to have your chimney cleaned once a year in order to prevent chimney fires.
Chimney cleaning needs to be done properly. Surprisingly, water is actually a chimney’s worst enemy. In fact, homeowners are advised to prevent water absorption into the chimney for that reason. Chimneys are cleaned with wire or chimney brushes that have to be long enough to reach the entire length of the chimney. But since animals like to nest in chimneys, it’s recommended to hire an expert to take care of the chimney maintenance for you.
The leaves are falling from the trees in Georgia and the temperatures are dropping, and you are reminded that you need to get your fireplace cleaned and inspected before you start using it. Chimney sweeps aren’t just characters in the Mary Poppins film; they are actually professionals who can get your fireplace and chimney system in spit-spot shape. Creosote is deposited on the interior walls of a chimney in the process of burning wood and is very flammable, which is why your chimney needs to be cleaned regularly and inspected.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have all the elements of your chimney system cleaned and inspected at least once a year. When we perform a chimney service, the fireplace, flue, damper, smoke shelf, smoke chamber, chimney cap, and firebox will be cleaned and inspected. If you have problems with rain, birds, and small animals getting into your chimney, the cap can be fitted with wire-mesh on the sides to help with these issues.
If any broken bricks or cracks in the chimney are found, our professionals at Atlanta Chimney Doctor repair them. Gas fireplace logs, as they age, can create dust particles that might start interfering with the gas getting to the flame. During the cold fall and winter months, if you notice changes in how your fireplace or stove is working, getting a professional to come in and determine what has caused the changes is a good idea for safety reasons.
A professional can light a small fire in the stove or fireplace or turn on the gas logs to do a smoke test, which ensures that the smoke is going where it needs to go without any blocks or clogs. Any ashes or soot that resulted from the cleaning will be removed, leaving a clean firebox ready for your next fire.
When you think of a nice fireplace, you probably conjure up happy images of cozy nights and hot chocolate. While this is all definitely related to a lovely fireplace, you may not be properly considering some of the dangers associated with having one in your home. There are some important health concerns and regulations for you to be educated about in order to enjoy your fireplace without putting you and your family in needless danger.
While the homey smell of a fireplace is very different from that of an exhaust pipe of a car, studies are finding that the particles emitted by both heat sources are very similar. When you breathe in smoke from your fireplace, it is the same as breathing in the exhaust from your minivan, and the negative effects are especially dangerous for children with asthma.
If you want to safely enjoy your fireplace, then make sure you do the following:
- Get your chimney serviced on a regular basis
- Clean away the ashes
- Burn safe and dry wood to lessen the amount of smoke
- Gain a working knowledge of your flue and how it works
Your Fireplace Specialist